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Thread: Recommendations for books on Buddhism?

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    Recommendations for books on Buddhism?

    I've studied Buddhism before and know the basics, but have had my eye out for some good books on the philosophy and figured I might get a few decent recommendations here.

    Looking for either:

    - An academic, historical survey that's readable but not dumbed down to the level of lay-reader

    and/or

    - Something that details out the practical aspects of the philosophy, preferably not too dumbed down either

    Or just whatever you've read that's decent.

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    Decided to just parse through the university library's catalogue.

    Buddhism: A Philosophical Approach looks promising.

    And maybe this one too:

    Buddhism: A History

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    Super Moderator Torin's Avatar
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    Huston Smith has a book on world religion that has a chapter on Buddhism. That's all I've read on the subject, but I recall it being decent.

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    Like Christianity there are multiple sects or schools of thought. Enlightenment for all or only the few and so on. Zen Buddhism is not accepted by all Buddhists.

    It is like asking if there any good books on Christianity. Start with a history on Buddhism. Search on book history Buddhism.

    It is as braod a topic as is Christianity.

    I am not an expert. If you go by the original teachings it is as conservative as any of the Abrahamic traditions. Search on the 8 Fold Path. No intoxicating substances. No sex outside of marriage. Right speech, right action, right occupation. There are many books in the west that sidestep those things. It is a moral code of conduct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Like Christianity there are multiple sects or schools of thought. Enlightenment for all or only the few and so on. Zen Buddhism is not accepted by all Buddhists.

    It is like asking if there any good books on Christianity. Start with a history on Buddhism. Search on book history Buddhism.

    It is as braod a topic as is Christianity.

    I am not an expert. If you go by the original teachings it is as conservative as any of the Abrahamic traditions. Search on the 8 Fold Path. No intoxicating substances. No sex outside of marriage. Right speech, right action, right occupation. There are many books in the west that sidestep those things. It is a moral code of conduct.
    Sure, but there are good overviews of Christianity as a whole, and that's exactly what I'm looking for with Buddhism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Like Christianity there are multiple sects or schools of thought. Enlightenment for all or only the few and so on. Zen Buddhism is not accepted by all Buddhists.

    It is like asking if there any good books on Christianity. Start with a history on Buddhism. Search on book history Buddhism.

    It is as braod a topic as is Christianity.

    I am not an expert. If you go by the original teachings it is as conservative as any of the Abrahamic traditions. Search on the 8 Fold Path. No intoxicating substances. No sex outside of marriage. Right speech, right action, right occupation. There are many books in the west that sidestep those things. It is a moral code of conduct.
    Sure, but there are good overviews of Christianity as a whole, and that's exactly what I'm looking for with Buddhism.
    The Internet is your friend Grasshopper. How is it that you know this master?. How is it you do not Grasshopper? Grasshopper you must embark on a journey through the Internet. The journey of a thousand Internet hits begins with one search. Fear not Grasshopper, there will be dead ends and frustrations but you must persevere to achieve your goal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Like Christianity there are multiple sects or schools of thought. Enlightenment for all or only the few and so on. Zen Buddhism is not accepted by all Buddhists.

    It is like asking if there any good books on Christianity. Start with a history on Buddhism. Search on book history Buddhism.

    It is as braod a topic as is Christianity.

    I am not an expert. If you go by the original teachings it is as conservative as any of the Abrahamic traditions. Search on the 8 Fold Path. No intoxicating substances. No sex outside of marriage. Right speech, right action, right occupation. There are many books in the west that sidestep those things. It is a moral code of conduct.
    Sure, but there are good overviews of Christianity as a whole, and that's exactly what I'm looking for with Buddhism.
    The Internet is your friend Grasshopper. How is it that you know this master?. How is it you do not Grasshopper? Grasshopper you must embark on a journey through the Internet. The journey of a thousand Internet hits begins with one search. Fear not Grasshopper, there will be dead ends and frustrations but you must persevere to achieve your goal.
    Thanks. I hadn't thought to check the internet. In the past 5 years and 150 books I've read I didn't once attempt to use Google.

    The problem is Google isn't a good tool to find good books, it's only useful for mass produced garbage, which is why I ask for recommendations on forums. Because people on forums have already read good books, the kind I'm looking for.

    I don't understand why you think it's such a problem to ask a question on an internet forum. If people don't want to click on the thread, they don't have to.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Strictly philosophical works I know less about, but I am very fond of Rick Fields' "When the Swans Came to the Lake", which concerns the history of Buddhism in the United States, via Europe, Japan, Blavatsky, and many other channels. It was an irreplaceable guide as I started exploring my local religious terrain. In the realm of ancient texts, I find the Milindapanha very accessible and interesting; something about the syncretic blend of ideas placed into a pedagogical question response format just appeals to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post

    The Internet is your friend Grasshopper. How is it that you know this master?. How is it you do not Grasshopper? Grasshopper you must embark on a journey through the Internet. The journey of a thousand Internet hits begins with one search. Fear not Grasshopper, there will be dead ends and frustrations but you must persevere to achieve your goal.
    Thanks. I hadn't thought to check the internet. In the past 5 years and 150 books I've read I didn't once attempt to use Google.

    The problem is Google isn't a good tool to find good books, it's only useful for mass produced garbage, which is why I ask for recommendations on forums. Because people on forums have already read good books, the kind I'm looking for.

    I don't understand why you think it's such a problem to ask a question on an internet forum. If people don't want to click on the thread, they don't have to.
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Decided to just parse through the university library's catalogue.

    Buddhism: A Philosophical Approach looks promising.

    And maybe this one too:

    Buddhism: A History
    And I had already found the above books in the university library catalogue nearby, which look like they fit the bill of what I was interested in. Probably pulled the trigger a bit too quickly on this thread, but this seemed like a topic where this forum might have some good leads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    Decided to just parse through the university library's catalogue.

    Buddhism: A Philosophical Approach looks promising.

    And maybe this one too:

    Buddhism: A History
    I dove into both of these yesterday and today.

    The philosophical approach is a pretty decent overview of the core tenets (although probably not as rigorous as I'd like), but the history actually does a pretty good job of that too (maybe even a better job) AND it's a pretty good, readable (yet not stupid) history. Might actually pull the trigger and buy it, reminds me of the History of Christianity by Paul Johnson I own, but far less rambly and a bit more accessible.
    Last edited by rousseau; 04-06-2019 at 01:55 AM.

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